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SHORTLIST REVEALED FOR THEAKSTON OLD PECULIER CRIME NOVEL OF THE YEAR 2021

This year’s list recognises author Chris Whitaker who hopes to claim the trophy on his first ever nomination with We Begin at The End – a powerful story of crime, punishment, love and redemption set in coastal California.

Sunday Times bestselling author Rosamund Lupton’s thrilling story of gunmen opening fire on a Somerset School has clinched a coveted spot on the shortlist. Three Hours sets the clock ticking for the hostages in a nail-biting exploration of white supremacy and radicalisation.

The creator of Norfolk’s best loved forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway Elly Griffiths is hoping that her seventh prize nomination takes her one step further to take the title. The twelfth novel in the whodunnit series, The Lantern Men sees Galloway return to the fens to hunt down a serial killer.

Trevor Wood’s meteoric rise continues as the debut author goes from being selected for Val McDermid’s highly respected ‘New Blood’ panel at the 2020 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival to being shortlisted for the coveted trophy with his acclaimed novel The Man on the Street. As a former naval officer, Wood brings to bear remarkable insight in this story of a homeless Falklands veteran with severe PTSD turned criminal investigator.

Scottish-Bengali author Abir Mukherjee is vying for his latest Wyndham & Banerjee novel Death in the East – described by The Times as “the best so far of an unmissable series”. A mesmerising portrait of India, Assam and East End London, perhaps this third nomination for will prove lucky for the account-turned best-selling author?

The final title on this year’s shortlist is Northern Irish author Brian McGilloway’s second nomination for political thriller The Last Crossing which looks at The Troubles from the perspective of view of former operatives who like to think they have moved on.

The six shortlisted books for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2021 is:

–          The Lantern Men by Elly Griffiths (Quercus, Quercus Fiction)

–          Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton (Penguin Random House UK, Viking)

–          The Last Crossing by Brian McGilloway (Little, Brown Book Group, Constable)

–          Death in the East by Abir Mukherjee (VINTAGE, Harvill Secker)

–          We Begin At The End by Chris Whitaker (Bonnier Books UK, Zaffre)

–          The Man on the Street by Trevor Wood (Quercus, Quercus Fiction)

The public are now invited to vote for the winner via www.harrogatetheakstoncrimeaward.com and the winner will be announced on the opening night of Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Thursday 22 July, and will receive £3,000, and a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by Theakston Old Peculier.

Executive director of T&R Theakston, Simon Theakston, said“This is it: the crème de la crème of crime. This shortlist really does showcase the breadth and depth of the genre. It’s going to be a fiercely fought prize this year so make sure you vote for your favourite. Until then, I look forward to raising a glass of Old Peculier at the winner’s announcement on 22 July!”

The award is run by Harrogate International Festivals sponsored by T&R Theakston Ltd, in partnership with WHSmith and the Express, and is open to full length crime novels published in paperback 1 May 2020 to 30 April 2021 by UK and Irish authors. The longlist was selected by an academy of crime writing authors, agents, editors, reviewers, members of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival Programming Committee, and representatives from T&R Theakston Ltd, the Express, and WHSmith.

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The Web They Wove by Catherine Yaffe – a review BLOG TOUR

The Web They Wove by Catherine Yaffee begins when the mutilated body of a young female is found at a park in Leeds. DI Ziggy Thornes and his team are called out to investigate. With little evidence found at the scene it seems like they are stuck at a dead end. When a second body turns up in the same place, Ziggy starts to feel the pressure as the inevitable comparisons with the Yorkshire Ripper start in the press. When he realises that the victims have been held captive for days before being murdered, he starts to realise that there is a seriously depraved person out there, and that the case is starting to turn personal.

Although this is the second novel by Catherine Yaffe it is the first I have read. However this can absolutely be read as a standalone. The back ground of Ziggy is revealed gradually through the story, including why he’s called Ziggy, and so I didn’t get the feeling I was missing anything. Although he was the typical divorced detective he also had a vulnerability about him that I liked and made him seem more rounded. His interaction with his team members was natural and he genuinely seemed to care about his team.

I am a big fan of novels that give the perspective from the serial killer and this is no exception. I thought the chapter’s from the killers voice gave an interesting extra dimension to the story, that I found fascinating. They were interspered thoughout and gave a change from the hectic pace of the police procedures.

The story was full of twists and turns that really drew me in from the beginning with some well written prose. Every time I thought I had a handle on where the case was going I would be thrown off direction once again. I very much enjoyed The Web they Wove and will definitely be looking to catch up with Ziggy on his next case.

To find out what others thought of Catherine Yaffe’s novel visit the other stops on the tour:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Web-They-Wove-Tangled-Book-ebook/dp/B0937K58PF/

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The Shadow Friend by Alex North – a review

Back in March I attended the Hull Noir online event which not only had some great guests but also a link up with a bookshop to offer signed books, which of course I can never resist especially when it includes the latest by one of my favourite authors, Alex North.

The Shadow Friend is the second book by writer Alex North. The story starts when Paul returns to his home town for the first time 25 years after he left. Returning to visit his mother he is surrounded by memories he has tried hard to forget. However the day his friend Charlie committed a terrible crime isn’t easy to forget especially when it appears there is a copycat criminal now operating.

The Shadow Friend is a creepy read that had me hooked from the start. It is one of those books where when you look back actually the ‘action’ isn’t that much. It is the quality of the writing that gives it a really immersive quality where the tension crackles off the page.

There are two different timelines as we find out about Paul both past and present. In the present we follow Paul dealing with his ailing mother who has been moved into a hospice as well as the creaks and threats that seem to be all around him. A younger Paul is coping with moving to a new school and trying to fit in whilst not being certain he actually wants to. As things get more and more creepy he pulls away but is never really let go.

I felt for the character of Paul, he came across as lonely and lost. Clearly despite moving away he has never managed to put the past behind him and it has affect his whole life. His lonliness almost gives the story an extra dimension as it makes it feel quite a claustrophobic tale as we get further inside his head.

I really enjoyed the book and the short chapters ending on cliff hangers kept me up late every night as I just wanted to read more. Throughout the story there is an undercurrent of the supernatural which adds to the uneasy feeling you get as you head to the final reveal. I didn’t see the ending coming at all. However as soon as you look back you realise that the clues where there but easily missed.

I throughly enjoyed this story and without wanting to give anything anyway there were some twists that I was completely blindsided by. I would highly recommend this, and if you haven’t yet read his first The Whisper Man then that should also be added to your pile!

You can get your copy of The Shadow Friend here.

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Last Place You Look by Louisa Scarr – a review BLOG TOUR

A big thanks to Damp Pebbles for inviting me onto the blog tour for Last Place You Look which is a new police procedural series by Louisa Scarr.

Last Place You Look introduces us to DS Robin Butler and his new partner DC Freya West. Jonathan Miller is found dead in his hotel room, just four days after attending his best friends birthday party. It is assumed that it was a solitary sex act gone wrong as Butler and West head off to go and inform the widow. Unfortunately their first assignment doesn’t get off to a great start as Butler sees West acting like it’s her first day on the job. Unbeknownst to Butler, West was having an affair with the dead man. She is certain that he wouldn’t have died in the way he did, and is determined to find out the truth. However things soon start to get even more complicated as the relationship between Butler and West is tested more than they could have imagined and secrets start to be unveiled.

I like a police procedural novel and this one was no exception.  This was an intriguing tale that I found drew me in from the start. You know that the death is going to be more complicated that it first seems as any book that starts with a swingers party isn’t going to end up heading to St Mary’s Mead. I did think the actual police procedure part was almost secondary to the story, there weren’t great long paragraphs recounting minute details regarding the investigation, but that wasn’t a bad thing. The dialogue between the characters swept the story along, and with it all being written in the third person you get to know inside all the characters minds.

Despite the fact that both the main characters are hiding big (and career changing) secrets I still actually liked them both. Of course they are flawed, but certainly with Robin Butler you begin to see why he is the way he is as we find out more about his background and his family. Equally with Freya West, her decision making was a bit flawed in my eyes but I still thought she was a good character.

The story had a relatively slow start but I found myself quickly getting caught up in the moment and I raced through to the end. This was a good start to a series and I look forward to reading more in this series.

To find out what others thought of Last Place You Look head over to the other stops on the blog tour:

You can get your own copy from tomorrow:

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/3v4YOiC

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